Around Town

LOMO helps fund programs at Southern

The Lower Moyamensing Civic Association, in partnership with South Philadelphia High School, presented a check for $1,275 to the South Philadelphia HS Special Education Program on June 13. Proceeds were raised through the LoMo Spring Flea Market.

Students shared stories about their gardening experiences including watering, processing compost, raking leaves and harvesting. Students in the program have been planting, harvesting and helping with general care of the gardens during the school year and over the summer through the Summer Work Ready program, hosted by Philadelphia Youth Network since 2016. SPHS staff members Audrey Nock, Leslie DiNardo and Jane Fitzgerald spoke about how great it was to have a space where students make connections with the outdoors, and how appreciative they are for the generous gift. Students made “Thank you!” signs to show their appreciation.

Waxman celebrates House passage of his measure to reduce cell phone bills 

State Rep. Ben Waxman celebrated the passage of his legislation that would reduce cell phone bills for families across the state.

“This is about providing financial relief to individuals and families across the entire state,” Waxman said. “We all rely on cell phones for communication, work and staying connected to loved ones. They have become an essential part of our lives, and it’s only fair that we work to alleviate the excessive tax burdens placed on Pennsylvanians.”

Waxman’s legislation would exempt cell phone service from the 6-percent sales and use tax, as well as the 5-percent gross receipts tax. This legislation follows Gov. Josh Shapiro’s state budget plan and would save Pennsylvania families an estimated $124 million per year.

According to Waxman, Pennsylvania has the seventh-highest combined rate of taxes and other government fees and surcharges on cell phone bills at 16.62 percent. At this time, 68 percent of American households do not have a landline and rely solely on cell phones for voice communication.

Waxman said lower-income households and younger individuals are more likely to be wireless-only. Further, 15 percent of Americans use cellular data on their smartphones as their only method of accessing the internet, as these families do not have broadband internet service.

Fiedler hosts school funding conference in Harrisburg 

State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler hosted a news conference in the state Capitol Rotunda on June 14 and called on legislators to fund school facilities in Pennsylvania.

“We have a unique opportunity to finally invest in fixing toxic schools across Pennsylvania,” said Fiedler. “It’s long past time we prioritize the health of our students, teachers and school staff. We have some of the oldest schools in the nation right here in Pennsylvania, and many of them have unsafe conditions that are simply unacceptable. I am committed to investing state dollars to remediate and repair our schools.”

Arthur Steinberg, president of AFT-Pennsylvania, called on Harrisburg to utilize the portions of the commonwealth’s surplus and Rainy Day fund to fund schools.

“With a budget surplus of over $8 billion and an additional $5 billion in the Rainy Day fund, right now is the time to get this done,” he said. “Upgrading these facilities will create jobs and economic activity across the commonwealth and provide every student in Pennsylvania with the school facilities they deserve.”

Feidler was joined by fellow Reps. Peter Schweyer, Robert Merski and Carol Hill-Evans.

“We are building bipartisan support for funding school facilities within this year’s budget,” HIll-Evans said. “The House sent a version of the budget to the Senate last week. Our proposal used Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal as a starting point but went a step further by increasing funding for schools and school facilities repairs substantially. We are proposing $350 million for school facilities modernization in our call for funding within the state’s budget. It’s time for us to put our dollars where they can do the most good – in our school facilities.”

Scanlon pushes for emergency funds to expand SEPTA capacity 

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon joined Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman and Reps. Brendan Boyle, Dwight Evans, Madeleine Dean and Chrissy Houlahan in sending a letter urging the Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration to provide federal funds to support additional capacity on SEPTA following the collapse of a bridge on I-95.

According to numbers, since the collapse of I-95, regional rail ridership on SEPTA has jumped at least 14 percent. The Federal Highway Administration announced the immediate availability of $3 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief funds to begin rebuilding the bridge – but federal funding has not yet been approved to expand SEPTA capacity while bridge reconstruction continues.

“As we work on the federal level to support the Commonwealth in the immediate aftermath of the collapse, public transportation must play a central role,” the members wrote. “By helping SEPTA increase capacity and provide a viable alternative to the surface roads, we can reduce congestion on the detour routes while also protecting pedestrians and cyclists who use these roads.

“Our understanding is that SEPTA’s expanded capacity would be eligible for Emergency Relief funds. Any other funding mechanisms should be moved at the fastest possible speed. We hope that the Department of Transportation will explore all options, including additional Emergency Relief funds and other flexibilities, to provide immediate support to SEPTA.”

Johnson introduces resolution urging the induction of Dick Allen in the Baseball HOF

City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson  introduced a resolution at the June 15 Council session urging the members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Golden Days Era Committee” to nominate and elect former Phillies great Dick Allen to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2027.

In December 2021, Allen fell one vote short of getting into the Hall of Fame for the second time in a row.

“After speaking with the Phillies and Mr. Allen’s family, I am introducing this resolution to show that Council and Philadelphians support having him in the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Johnson said. “Allen is not just one of the greatest players in Phillies history but is considered the Phillies’ first African American superstar. His statistics alone show that he is long overdue to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

A seven-time Major League Baseball All-Star, Allen spent nine of his 15 major league seasons (1963-77) with the Phillies and won National League Rookie of the Year in 1964. During his time with the club, Allen batted .290 with 204 doubles, 204 home runs, 655 runs batted in, a .371 on-base percentage and a .530 slugging percentage (.902 OPS) in 1,070 games. His slugging percentage is second-best in Phillies history, behind only Hall of Famer Chuck Klein (.553), and he ranks 10th in home runs.

Allen, whose No. 15 was retired by the Phillies in 2020, became one of the all-time greats in Phillies history after being signed by the team in 1960 to his first professional contract. He joined the Phillies front office in 1994 as a fan development representative and, later, a club ambassador. Allen passed away in 2020, at the age of 78.

Allen is only the ninth member of the franchise in its 140-plus-year history to have his jersey retired.

State treasurer warns of malicious emails claiming to be from Treasury

Treasurer Stacy Garrity warned the public that scammers are imitating the Pennsylvania Treasury Department with sophisticated phishing emails targeting Pennsylvanians.

“I urge everyone to always be on guard for scams and suspicious messages,” Garrity said. “We know these criminals will pull out all the stops to commit fraud, but Treasury will always fight back. If you have doubts about an email claiming to be from the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, here’s the most important tip: Do not click any links, and do not share any personal information. And always remember: Treasury will never seek personal information through an unsolicited email.”

The scammers’ phishing emails are designed to look like they have been sent from the Pennsylvania Treasury Department and include a link that leads to a fake version of Treasury’s website. Anyone who clicks on the link is then prompted to enter login credentials. Do not do this. Treasury will never use unsolicited emails or texts to request personal information for any of its programs.

If you’ve received one of these messages, or have any other questions, visit

Lawmakers hard at work

The state House last week adopted a resolution (H.R. 119), sponsored by state Rep. Leanne Krueger, a Delaware County Democrat, that designates June 1, 2023 as “Skip the Straw Day” in Pennsylvania. Krueger said she introduced the resolution because a class of fourth-graders reached out to her about the impact that plastic pollution has on sea turtles in the ocean and the overall negative impact on the environment, drinking water and air. All 102 Democrats voted for the resolution. All 101 Republicans voted against it. ••

Philly native writes novel

Ken Jaworowski, a Roxborough native and editor at the New York Times, has written a debut novel, Small Town Sins, that will be published by Henry Holt and Co. on Aug. 1. The novel is set in rural Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. It is available for preorder at any book store or online seller.

Laura Dave, whose book The Last Thing He Told Me is now a miniseries that broke a viewership record on Apple TV, said, “A deeply evocative thriller that lives at the intersection of bad decisions and bad luck, Small Town Sins is an extraordinary debut, which will have you riveted from page one.”

For more information, go to ••

Burrs at the Beach

The 34th annual Burrs at the Beach will take place on Sunday, June 25, from 1-6 p.m. at Keenan’s Pub in North Wildwood. Proceeds will benefit needy Catholic students at West Catholic with tuition financial support.

The cost is $30 and includes buffet, reduced drink prices, raffle prize, band and DJ. Must be 21 or older.

Call George Light (‘58), 610-996-2015; Peg (Sheffield) Panichelli (‘65), 610-420-0987; or Tom McGinn (‘65), 610-461-6241.

English classes for Ukrainians

Holy Family University’s English as a Second Language initiative for newly arrived Ukrainian adults is accepting new applicants. The classes are free and open to members of the community who are at least 18 years old. Classes are at 9801 Frankford Avenue and online. Class days and times are online (through Aug. 24, Tuesday and Thursday, 6-7 p.m.) and in person (June 21 to July 31, Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-7 p.m.). Since last fall, more than 100 newly arrived Ukrainians have attended classes at no cost to help them improve their English proficiency and become familiar with the Philadelphia community. Interested applicants can register at ••

Hoops camp for boys and girls

The 17th annual Jaguar St. Ephrem Basketball Camp for Boys and Girls will take place from Monday, July 24, to Friday, July 28. The cost is $150 and includes a basketball and T-shirt. The camp is held in the air-conditioned Marian Center at St. Ephrem Parish, 5400 Hulmeville Road in Bensalem. The camp is under the direction of former college coach Dan Williams. For more information, email Williams at ••

Pro-life baby shower

The Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia will hold a baby shower on June 24 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that there is no constitutional right to an abortion. There will be a Mass at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, followed by a march down Race Street and a rally at Independence Mall, where there will be music and speakers such as Mark Houck, the pro-life activist found not guilty by a federal jury of shoving a Planned Parenthood volunteer he said was harassing his son outside a Center City abortion clinic. Baby donations will be accepted. ••